The results of the 2012 Manufacturers Alliance Public Policy Survey are in.

Every year, the Manufacturers Alliance creates a survey that outlines the major legislative issues going on during any given calendar year. This survey is then sent to our thousands of members, who complete both a State and Federal list of priorities for the upcoming year. This information is then collected by the Alliance and we determine what issues are considered to be the most important in any calendar year. The 2012 results tell us where we have improved from last year, and what areas we need to place more importance on in the year to come.

The number one issue at the state level for the second year in a row is government spending. Although the percent of members who ranked government spending as the number one issue dropped slightly from 29% in 2011 to 24% in 2012, there is still a clear need for statewide reform in this area. With individual agendas put aside, the business and manufacturing sectors of New York need to come together with Albany and our partners at Unshackle Upstate to improve the business climate and overall quality of life. How can we do this? Lobby for lowered government spending and a reduced cost of doing business in New York State.

Which brings us to the second highest state level priority: healthcare. The Medicaid system costs New York taxpayers more than $4.5 billion every year. And the government continues to add more mandates, fees, and taxes to businesses without consideration for who will incur the cost ramifications. These costs affect our local economy, and stop manufacturers from creating jobs and competing in the global economy. Our ultimate goal in this area is to monitor the out-of-control government spending while improving employees’ access to care.

One of the public policy issues that saw increased interest in our survey, placing it third on our list, is Labor Employment. We all know that the recession forced manufacturers to decrease production, layoff employees, and stop new job hires. As the business climate in New York improves, so does the potential for new labor employment in 2012. But this can only happen if the cost of protecting employees under state and federal laws doesn’t interfere with the company’s ability to grow and compete. We hope to improve existing labor laws and new laws with unnecessary cost burdens on taxpaying businesses. The ability of manufacturers to increase productivity and profitability through enthusiastic and educated new employees will only improve the quality of life and overall business climate in our state.

Other state level priorities for the 2012 legislative session include economic development (10%), energy (10%), government reform (8%), workforce (7%), and tort reform (3%). Each and every issue holds importance for our members as they look to the future. Improvement in energy prices, new and innovative technologies, educated potential employees, and a more transparent government system will all allow New York manufacturers to continue on the path towards economic recovery.

And as we look forward to the next legislative session, I want to stress the importance of a unified front. The 2011 success worth celebrating were only possible with the collaborative efforts of the MACNY, Unshackle Upstate, the Manufacturers Alliance of New York State and our numerous dedicated partners and supporters. We encourage you all to join forces with our businesses, associations, and partners in Albany to continue our progress in 2012, and beyond.